Service Animals Defined and the Rights of their Handlers

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Missouri
state law protects the rights of individuals who utilize service animals to enter public
buildings and places of employment. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been specially trained to do work
or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by the dog must be directly
related to the person’s disability. Service animals can assist with the following
tasks: guiding people who are blind; alerting people who are deaf; pulling wheelchairs;
alerting someone who has diabetes; contacting emergency help for a person who is having a seizure or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets. They should not be touched by strangers without
the handler’s permission. A handler is a person who trains or is in
charge of the animal. A lack of education or understanding the laws
surrounding the use of service animals can lead to misinterpretation, unnecessary embarrassment
or even an assessment of monetary damages and penalties. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses and organizations that serve the
public MUST allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas
of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses
open to the public, including: hotels and restaurants; taxis and shuttles; grocery and
department stores; hospitals and medical offices, theaters and health clubs, community fairs
and stadiums, parks and zoos The Missouri Revised Statutes
provides every person with a visual, hearing, or other disability, including diabetes, the
same rights as a person without a disability. This includes full and free access to: streets,
highways, sidewalks and walkways, public buildings and facilities, and other public places
For more information, contact the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *